Guest Curated by China Adams

October 7, 2021 – January 3, 2022

Before the Wilt exhibition at Porch Gallery Ojai

A flower is a site of tension, implicit in a fresh bloom is imminent decay.  What sets the life-cycle of a flower apart is it’s relative brevity.  The time from bloom to wilt is usually no more than a matter of weeks, only a matter of days when considering cut flowers.

A flower in bloom acts as a symbol of impending doom.  Their compressed life cycle, heightens their preciousness.  We appreciate the flower not only for its beauty, but because we recognize its temporality, its brief life in bloom.  Just as we savor the evocative, elusive fragrance of scented flowers, we relish the bloom because it is short-lived, impermanent and uncontainable.

We romanticize blossoms not only for the beauty evident in their structural complexity, their extravagant range of color and wild diversity, but for their essential, transient natures.  Beauty alone is not the sole reason for our intrigue, it is the flower’s symbolic heft that reminds us of the inevitability of death. In essence the flower acts as its own brand of memento mori.

Before The Wilt features the work of painters Renee´ Fox and Mary Warner.  Both accentuate the flower through dramatic scale, rich color and Realism (in places verging on Hyper-Realism).  While Warner paints her Sunflowers and Zinnias weathered and windblown, exuding a kind of elegant maturity, Fox’s Orchids, plump and nubile ooze fertility and new birth.  Poised at either ends of the life-cycle spectrum, seen together, the work of Fox and Warner act symbolically to suggest a kind of bookending to the compressed floral life-cycle.  They illuminate the tension of short-lived perfection and beauty at the same time providing an opportunity to reflect on the larger implications of gorgeous lives truncated by their own frailty and brief life-cycle.  Perhaps an apt metaphor for a world teetering at the edge of environmental ruin…